The week I tested positive for COVID, the vaccine arrived: a family doctor’s perspective–from


On Friday evenings, my family usually listens to my husband DJ music in the basement, streaming online on Twitch, and dancing along. During one of these nights, I went upstairs to check on my two girls and remembered to check online for my routine COVID-19 screen results that I’d done the day before.

Since the beginning of the pandemic and when our clinic received COVID PCR swab tests, I’d been doing them every few weeks routinely. As a family doctor, I’ve seen patients still every day of the week, either in person or virtually, and I’ve treated multiple COVID-19+ patients in the last 7 months. To protect me, my family, and my community, I decided to do testing and do it often, sometimes alternating with testing my antibodies in my bloodstream to know ahead of time, before becoming symptomatic, if I had been infected or not. My family was doing our best to be as preventive as possible by obsessively following the 3 Ws: waiting (being patient in line six feet away from people and socially distancing), washing our hands feverishly and wearing our masks, even when with our dedicated, committed pandemic pod (lovingly called Blexcellence). I was stripping down at the door when coming home from work and running up to the shower before touching anyone or anything. I was wearing appropriate PPE and N95 masks with every patient I encountered and when walking or meeting with staff members. We were sanitizing and wiping down all packages or groceries that entered our home. And, on this Friday night, I tested positive the first time in seven months.ADVERTISEMENT

Imagine my panic.

My husband is Black and a diabetic (two major risk factors), and I have 7 and 9-year-old girls at home. What if I’d gotten them sick? My panic set in. I immediately grabbed and put on my N95 mask I have at home and ran upstairs, leaving my children downstairs without saying a word, to begin my self-isolation in my bedroom. I texted my husband to come upstairs with his mask to come and talk to me about something important. As I waited, I took slow deep breaths to slow down my now racing heart rate. As he approached the door, on his way in, I held up my hand to stop him at the doorway and blurted out, “I’m positive.” His face immediately changed, and I could see the anxiety in his eyes. His worst fear was now here … for his frontline wife to catch COVID. He brought a chair to the doorway, and we took deep breaths together to make a plan for our quarantine and my isolation for the next couple of weeks.

OK, now with my scientist hat on, I thought … what happened? What does this mean? Where did I contract it? Who do I tell first? I had been careful and diligent. My husband and I decided to tell our pandemic pod first since they were our closest possible contacts, and I had seen them 5 days before my test. All of us were masked, and most of them had recently tested negative shortly before or after Thanksgiving. We had a zoom call with them to talk through scenarios, and I finally cried for a little bit after having to say it out loud to someone else outside of my family that I “had COVID.” The pod began thinking of when each member would get tested.

But, did I, in fact, “have COVID”? I thankfully had zero symptoms. I didn’t have fever, cough, fatigue, headache, shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste, diarrhea, or any of the textbook symptoms. This would remain to be true throughout my quarantine. Thank God. However, I was afraid that the other shoe would drop every day, that I would become ill, and my husband would have to call 911 to take me to the hospital, and that no visitors would be allowed. I took my temperature twice a day, and my family and I stopped taking elderberry (there is thought that taking it during infection can worsen symptoms) and began to take increased amounts of vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, and I added aspirin to prevent heart and blood clot issues. I drank orange juice and had chicken noodle soup daily (shout out to my neighbor for dropping some homemade soup off).

My family went the next morning to have drive-up PCR swab tests, and I decided to do it, too, since it was available. Ultimately, everyone’s tests, thankfully, returned negative, including mine. This caused even more confusion. Did this mean my test was a false positive (the literature says the rate is extremely low for the PCR tests)? Had I caught myself at the end of my infection from days or weeks prior on Thursday and cleared the virus by Saturday? Was my PCR sample spun down for too long, and it resulted in a positive test? I still don’t know. I’m going to wait on my antibody levels to help tell the rest of the story. However, that still may not answer all of the questions. We decided to do the most responsible thing and pretend it was positive, that I had the infection and began my quarantine from the world and isolation from my family for at least 10 days. I set up a work area to do virtual patient visits, and my family left food and other items at the door.

It was depressing mostly, with moments of quiet relaxation. I stared out the open windows a lot or watched senseless TV, mixed with COVID updates and social media. It definitely took mental toughness to remain uplifted and faithful while alone for the most of the day and sleeping alone at night. I had some tears while remaining connected with Ric and the girls via Google Hangouts and video chatting while they were in virtual school and working remotely. I thrive off of physical touch and affection.

My staff, family, co-workers, and pod members all tested negative. The last known patient of mine that had tested positive was seen three weeks before that. I still don’t know where I contracted the infection, but I thank God that my family and I have remained well. Since all tested negative twice more now, I have rejoined my family in our home. I’ve decided not to go out in public or return to work until after day #14, just to be safe.

While all of this was happening, the first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was administered.

But, before I get to my feelings about that, let me say this about how people react when a patient tells them they have tested positive for COVID-19: They don’t know what to say. Once my patients began to figure out that I was on quarantine, they were both scared for me and scared for themselves if they’d been seen within the prior two weeks. Reactions were either hot or cold and rarely lukewarm. The patient feels like a leper often. Either loved ones flipped all the way out in fear and became afraid that death was upon me (like my 9 year old tearfully did) or that I was going to be fine and it wasn’t a big deal because I was asymptomatic. When I tested negative two days after testing positive, I had to redirect friends who thought I should stop being dramatic and return to “normal life” because obviously, the original test was incorrect. The truth is, we don’t know. There have been many horror stories when patients thought they were fine and didn’t have symptoms and ended up hospitalized, intubated, or worse in a matter of days. I was hurt and offended by those who didn’t seem to realize the emotional burden that my family and I was going through, not knowing what was happening and not seeing or touching each other as we normally would. However, we did have faith in God and had prayer warriors everywhere, putting in a good word for us with the man above. My wonderful pastor sent me a healing scripture to repeat daily and meditate upon to build up my faith muscles and remain positive (in thinking).

So, now on to my thoughts on the arrival of the new vaccine. I was excited and cautiously optimistic about watching the first nurse, a Black essential worker in New York, receive the first shot here in the U.S. I reflected on how many people have been lost, infected, and affected by this horrible pandemic this year. I remembered the fear we all had as doctors and providers in clinics as we knew the obligation we had to serve and protect our patients, all the while risking our own health and families’ health in serving them. I pondered how many people are still not following the 3 Ws or think that this virus is fake, as I remember the many virtual funerals my family members and friends have had to attend from those lost. I cheered on my colleagues that shared pictures and videos of them receiving the vaccine. I was on TV on the news twice last week and on the radio once after announcing on social media that I tested positive to share my experience. And, when I was asked the inevitable question, “Doc, are you going to take the vaccine?” my answer was “Yes, eventually.”

Apparently, one of the news stations I appeared on received backlash for my interview because it appeared that I was discouraging the Black community from getting the vaccine. I understand how that could have been perceived. I also understand that this comes with the territory of being a voice in media. There will be nay-sayers, and there will be negative feedback. But this perception could not be farther from the truth. I am a Black female physician, and with being all of these, including a wife and a mother, comes great responsibility. I speak to my patients the same way I speak on media: honestly and with transparency. And the truth is, I have questions about the vaccines. The good news is, with more and more of my colleagues receiving the first dose and having positive experiences and Dr. Fauci being able to speak more openly about the pandemic (he was muted a lot by the current administration when he should have been leading these efforts) and the vaccines, I am becoming more comfortable. I will always be a patient educator and advocate, allowing people to make their own educated decisions for themselves and their families for their own health. My job is not, nor has it ever been, to convince or force patients to do what I want them to do. I give the information or the avenues to get more information and encourage all to make their own informed decision. This is especially important for the BIPOC (Black, indigenous, people of color) community, which has largely been disenfranchised, disadvantaged, and marginalized by the medical community and in politics, so this is how I operate. This is what I owe them. If that is perceived as being discouraging, those individuals are largely misguided.

I will get the vaccine, eventually. I likely will not have access to the vaccine until early spring 2021 because I am an outpatient physician and not one in the hospital or a nursing home facility. That means I’ll have time to watch and wait and see which version and manufacturer of the vaccine has been helping the most, which one we’ll get in our clinic and how the BIPOC community responds medically to it, and which ones cause the least amount of side effects. But, let’s be clear, we’ll all need to get a vaccine, along with its booster shot (depending on the manufacturer), to all move on from this global pandemic. It won’t go away unless we all do our part to increase herd immunity, and part of that includes getting this vaccine. Period.

C. Nicole Swiner is a family physician and can be reached at #docswiner.

Virtual Best-Selling Authors’ & Branding Retreat


We’re not canceling 2020. We’re continuing to move to the next level. Let’s get these books and brands going!
Announcing Swiner Publishing Co.’s Virtual Best-Sellers’ & Branding Event!
The link is live:
Oct. 10, 2020, 10am-3pm (changed from Oct. 3rd)
Come join @swinerpublishingcompany for our virtual authors’ and branding retreat.
For $199, you’ll get:
  • Me, DocSwiner, teaching tips and skills for you to DIY your best-selling book, blog or start that online business you’ve been seeking to do.
  • A free landing website page for each attendee for the live event.
  • Guest speakers, Jesica Averhart and Alechia Reese, will share their journeys and bullet points on how they became CEOs on the national stage and have elevated their brands and launched new books or businesses even during the pandemic.
  • One of my favorite MUAs (make-up artists), Emily Mason, will share at-home make-up tips for taking your own pics and headshots for your graphics and social media. She’ll also include a free make-up kit for each attendee.
  • A digital or printed and mailed workbook, a free follow-up one-on-one with Doc after the event and more free gifts……..
If you can’t make the live event and want the recording of the whole event, follow-up consultation and workbook to have later, the cost is $59.
Jesica Averhart
Emily Mason
Alechia Reese

My article on KevinMD about ‘pandemic paralysis’

I’ve been feeling it. I know you have, too. I shared some of my recent feelings about everything going on in an article published on Here it is:

Pandemic dysphoria and pandemic paralysis: How to get through it

I’ve had to give myself a break recently and extend myself some grace. I hope, especially if you’re an essential worker, parent, or caretaker, that you have, as well. During this crazy coronavirus pandemic, I’ve been trying to take care of my patients, my husband, my children, and, lastly, myself, and through it all, my moods have waxed and waned. Like the rest of the world, I’ve felt mad, sad, scared, grateful, and then sad again, and I’ve reached out to friends and colleagues, particularly my mental health and psychiatry folks, to make sense of what is happening. Surely, some new pathology will come out of this crisis and already has, but I’ve been naming some new conditions and new terms recently. I searched some online resources to see if anyone was using certain terms, and I couldn’t find them, such as pandemic dysphoria, pandemic dysthymia, or pandemic paralysis. So, let’s talk about what I think those are now.

Pandemic dysphoria is a feeling of being low or having a down mood and down affect (which means the type of facial expressions, tone, and speech you have.) I believe this has been widespread during this global crisis and is likely new for many people who were stable and content prior to everything going haywire.

Dysthymia is a condition, and that essentially means having a chronically low level of underlying depression. I have certainly felt this at times and have treated patients with more dysthymia than usual, due to the pandemic and its effects on their medical, physical, and mental health. “Clinical” depression is different in that it seems to happen in episodes in 6 to 12 months worth of symptoms that can improve with treatment. Dysthymia is more of a chronic state that people can suffer from.

Pandemic paralysis (paralysis, meaning, of course, loss of function or movement of your limbs) can be used in an emotional way, where you procrastinate, you can’t move, you can’t act, and you’re not doing the tasks that you need or have to do, etc. I think these issues now can be related to pandemic more because of what’s going on. Because of COVID-19, quarantine, politics, protests, going back to virtual school, I at times felt like, “I have these things to do, but I just can’t move right now.”

These are our new terms that I think are situational, given all the things that are happening now, and if we were not in the middle of a whole crisis and pandemic, they would not be occurring. Hopefully, things will return to whatever “normal” is, but in the meantime, here are some things I’m going to do to help not feel stuck in paralysis:

  1. Schedule your first appointments or meetings as phone calls (or telemedicine, if you’re in the medical field) before going into the office.
  2. On the days that you work from home, make sure one is closed or scarcely scheduled.
  3. Rest when you need to. Lie down when you need to lie down. Yes, even during the day.
  4. Schedule more mental health days off.
  5. Stop. And then, start again.

I hope this helps all of us get to the other side more whole and more happy.

C. Nicole Swiner is a family physician and can be reached at #docswiner.

#TheNewNormal was a hit!


Thanks to everyone who joined us for our very first #TheNewNormal virtual summit. Lots of free stuff was given away and the feed on Twitch was phenomenal. Thank you to the speakers and to hubby, Ric Swiner, DJ Big Fella NC, for helping me with everything. I’m much less exhausted than with an in-person event. May have to do this again very soon! Some of the replay is still available for now on
All of the merch displayed during the event is now available at my online store:
Below are some of our favorite quotes from the event from our phenomenal speakers.


New Year New You 2020 Vibes


That’s the theme I’ve picked for this year. I tend not to do vision boards, but we always pick one word to focus on for the year. Expansion felt right, as I’ve been working on extending and broadening my audience with the services that I offer; into different cities, states, and countries.

What’s your word for 2020?


This time of year is also dedicated to my annual women’s conference, called New Year New You, and it will be held next Saturday, January 18, 2020. Come join us for yoga with our keynote and yogi, Jessamyn Stanley, author of Every Body Yoga, along with music, meditation, acupuncture, massage therapy, eating, drinking and being merry.

My sis, Cicely Mitchell, has blessed us with the right vibe for this year’s event. She’s curated a playlist just for us to get into the mood of this year and for #newyearnewyou2020. It’s very throwback AOC, for the music lovers. Check out these picks for the artists to appreciate and keep your eye out for…….#trusttheCurator #sowhendoiclap.


‎Playlist · 11 Songs

New Year New You 2020 Playlist on Apple Music

Lastly, I’m excited about our new NoSuperwoman planner that launched this month. Make sure to check it out if you’re a planner fiend and need some organization in your life this year. It’s available in my online store:
I’m excited about what 2020 has in store for us. I hope you are, too.
Sending love and positive vibes,
Doc 🙂

Tackling the Superwoman Epidemic among Moms of Color w/ Dr. Omolara


If you’re off today and taking it easy, why don’t you take a listen to a fun and insightful podcast I had with a fellow mommy doc of color? It’s on my fave topics!! Thanks to Dr. Omolara of Supermom Rehab for having me.
On this week’s episode, I get to speak with the “No Superwoman” doc- Dr. C. Nicole Swiner, (@docswiner) about why tackling the Superwoman epidemic among moms of color is so critical for our health and well-being and practical solutions we can use to stop it from showing up in our motherhood journeys.⠀

This interview quickly turned into a fabulous chat that spanned a bunch of topics including our connection as dance moms of two little girls and reigning in our “tiger mom” tendencies. We also spoke about why tackling being a supermom is not something we can do alone and the importance of getting support and guidance from others.⠀

This aligned so perfectly with why group coaching is essential for moms of color,and many of you know, I run my Mama First coaching program for helping working moms of color experiencing stress learn how to invest in themselves. (FULL SHOW NOTES at:⠀

Have a great one,

Doc 🙂

My Swiner Publishing Co. Writer’s Retreat is Coming this Month!

MoreheadFacebookPicBest-Selling Author and Publisher Hosts Writer’s Retreat 

Weekend event allows writers and entrepreneurs to gain valuable tips.

DURHAM, N.C., September 20, 2019 – Best-selling author, publisher and entrepreneur C. Nicole “DocSwiner” Swiner, MD, will host an intimate Writer’s Retreat October 19 and 20, 2019. The event will take place on October 19-20, 2019, at Morehead Manor Bed and Breakfast (picture shown above), located in Durham, NC. 

Returning for a second year, the retreat will include training, as well as marketing and writing workshops from successful authors and entrepreneurs. During networking portions, each guest will have the opportunity to leave the retreat with book copies already sold. 

Ticket prices range from $175 to $509, with options for an overnight stay, local stay, one-day admission or a new live streaming or recorded version ticket. Ticket costs cover room and board, brunch each day, along with take-home resources and materials. Additionally, each guest will leave with a book cover design, as well as professional headshots with a makeup artist. There is also an option for those unable to attend to live-stream the retreat. 

“I’m looking forward to inspiring a new group of authors this time around,” states Swiner. “Each retreat is thoughtfully curated to inspire, educate and support new authors.” 

“Before attending Doc Swiner’s Writing Retreat last year the idea of becoming a published author was merely just an idea. I left the retreat full of confidence that my work was good enough to share with the world and with the goal of publishing my first book before the year ended,” says Fallon Renee, Amazon best-selling author. 

“Not only was the retreat the catalyst that made my idea of becoming a published author a reality, it singlehandedly changed the course of my life,” Renee states.  “On the evening before the retreat ended, we had to do a live video on social media letting the world know that we were authors. That proclamation set so many great things in motion for me and I can honestly say that I would have never taken that leap of faith without the encouragement I received that weekend in Durham.” 


**picture above is from last year’s retreat**

ABOUT DOCSWINER: C. Nicole Swiner, MD, “DocSwiner”, is a family physician,best selling author and publishing consultant, wife and mother of 2. Her interests include Minority Health, Women’s Health, and Pediatrics. For her undergraduate education, she attended Duke University and went to medical school at the Medical University of South Carolina, in Charleston, SC. She speaks nationally on the Superwoman Complex, entrepreneurship, mental health and self-publishing and runs Swiner Publishing Co., helping others to publish their works. 


Ticket site:

FB page:

Footage from last year:

Media Contact:           

Chelsey Bentley Holts | 


My Writing Tips Highlight on #SoMeDocs



Writing Secrets: Nicole Swiner, MD

(A SoMeDocs Advice Project)




I’m good at pulling people’s stories out of them and holding their hands to guide them across the finish line of publishing their books.


No, but I’ve now published over 40 or so best-selling authors. I did read some publishing books initially, but I learned mostly by self-publishing my own books first and talking to my peers in the field.


I work from home via telemedicine on Mondays and Fridays and focus on clients during those days. I also have help with marketing, 3-4 editors, and graphic design, so I’m not doing all of the work myself.

  • Work on your brand first. Tell them what you’re about.


  • Don’t be afraid to be in front of the camera and on social media. It’s ok to promote yourself. Nay, it’s necessary.


  • Ask for help. And, pay for it 🙂

Don’t start from scratch. You’ve probably written your first couple of chapters years ago… in your blog, journal or on social media already. Start there.


Thanks to Dr. Corriel and #SoMeDocs for the highlight. If you’re interested in me

teaching and helping you to create your best-selling book, come to our 2nd Writer’s

Retreat on October 19-20, 2019 here in Durham. Here’s the link for info and tickets:


5 Love Languages of Self-Care

I recently released a new e-book, with the above title. Check out a piece here and get the entire e-book at my online store,

“Being selfish can be life-saving. Take time out for you.”

Have you heard of this book (The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman) ? It was and is a key ingredient, I believe, in the happy marriage I have with hubby, and used as a teaching tool during our pre-marital counseling before our wedding. We refer back to it often. Here are the languages that Gary Chapman explains in his book:

1. Words of Affirmation
2. Acts of Service
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Quality Time
5. Physical Touch

My 2 are Receiving Gifts and Physical Touch.


Chapter 1

Words of Affirmation

Stop degrading yourself in word and in deed; in real life and on social media. Research shows 80% of our own self-talk is negative. There’s enough negativity in the world to go around. Don’t be your own worst enemy. Speak life into your situation daily. Stop saying “can’t” or “might not,” and say  “can” and “will.”